A Step by Step Guide to Marketing Books to Libraries
If you’re a self-published author who is trying to promote your book and get it into bookstores, why not try getting it into a library first? Libraries are great marketing tools – they enable people to read your book and tell other people about it, making it more well-known and easier to eventually sell to bookstores.
First Things First: Ensure that your book is high quality. Many people are wary of self-published books because they believe that they are low quality. Make sure that your book is formatted and has been carefully edited. Also, choose your bindings carefully, as libraries generally won’t stock books with that are comb bound, spiral bound, or saddle stitched (stapled). It’s a good idea to call your local library and ask them what their requirements are. Ensure that the cover makes the book look professional and interesting, as many people do judge a book by its cover.
And Then…Promote your book. Start promoting your book before contacting libraries to get the word out and show that you’re serious. Create a website or blog for your book, and make sure it looks professional.
Be professional. Find out who the acquisitions librarian is (the librarian who purchases books for the library or branch), and call her, email her, or set up a brief meeting with her to ask about donating some copies of your books. Don’t just put your book in the donations bin or hand it to a random librarian at the check out counter – chances are it will end up in a book sale that way. Be polite, professional, and respectful. Consider giving her a copy to look over if she seems unsure about your book.Be prepared to donate a few copies. Libraries are usually non-profit organizations, and as such, they like donations. However, most libraries will require you to donate more than one copy of your book, as it costs money to catalogue it and is only worth their time and money if there’s more than one copy in their library. Some libraries have special systems or sections in the library specifically for self-published local authors, so enquire about that.Get a review. In order to not only get the attention of the not only the librarians, but the general public, get your book reviewed. Try and land a review from Library Journal, CHOICE, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, or Kirkus Reviews. There are also programs that will send flyers about your book to local libraries for a fee.Ask others to request your book. Libraries usually take requests seriously, so it’s a great way to get them to put your book on the shelves. Ask some friends and family members to request your book. Be careful that you don’t have them submit dozens of spam-like requests for your book; librarians can tell which requests are fake and which are legitimate, and they won’t be happy if you waste their time with fake requests.Continue marketing your book. Once you get the book on the library shelves, your battle isn’t necessarily over. Libraries will usually weed out books if they don’t circulate well to free up shelf space for books that will. Make sure to promote your book as much as possible to ensure that people want to take it out.